message Board EDUCATION RESOURCES SUNKEN CITIES RECENT DISCOVERIES SHIP WRECKS MAIN PAGE INTRODUCTION GLOSSARY TIMELINE LINKS CONSERVATION METHODS LOCATING THE WRECK EXCAVATION TECHNIQUES SHIPWRECK DATA BASE About This Site
Conservation of the Belle Artifacts
Nautical archaeologists have unearthed the Belle so that you and I will have a greater understanding of how people lived in the days of old.
The excavation was conducted in a cofferdam in Matagorda Bay, Texas, and lasted almost a year. It yielded an amazing array of artifacts, including the hull of the ship itself, three bronze cannons, bronze hawk bells, millions of glass beads, pottery and even the skeleton of a crew member.
The project has now shifted to the conservation phase. Every artifact is carefully identified, cleaned and preserved. In time, the hull of the ship will be reconstructed and, together with the other artifacts, will be presented in a major museum display.
A iron and epoxy resin, Partisan, also known as a French polearm was used to create a mold from silicone molding compound, which could then be used to create an accurate replica of the original artifact.
Using a mold made from the original artifact the archaeologists recreate the picture of how this French partisan must have looked when a French solider held it 300 years ago.
Photographs courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission and Texas A&M University